Asics is one of the most popular sneaker brands in the marketplace today. But it’s a safe assumption that most people who wear its footwear know the story behind the label’s name.
The name is actually an acronym for Anima Sana In Corpore Sano, which translates in Latin to “A Sound Mind in a Sound Body.” According to Asics, the phrase was adopted by its founder, Kihachiro Onitsuka, more than 60 years ago and served as the ethos of the brand.
In May 2018, Asics celebrated this brand platform — which has lasted throughout much of its 100 years — by releasing the KO100 limited-edition sneaker and apparel pack. The lineup, Asics said, was made to reflect its founder’s “positive outlook on life.”
To execute this concept, the label delivered three reimagined looks, one from each of its umbrella brands: the Asics Gel-Quantum 360, the Asics Tiger Gel-Mai and the Onitsuka Tiger Corsair. The bright, eye-catching styles were made to reflect its founder’s appreciation of sunflowers.
Asics was established in 1949, then known as Onitsuka Co. Ltd., which adopted the name it now goes by in 1977. The reason for the name change, according to the brand, was because of its belief that “the best way to create a healthy and happy lifestyle is to promote total health and fitness.”
The brand has long been a favorite among runners, both core and casual, and continues to deliver new shoes and updates to core franchises with each year. Franchises including the Gel-Kayano, the Gel-Cumulus, the GT-2000 and others remain beloved, and new additions such as the Metaspeed line (Metaspeed Sky and Metaspeed Edge) prove the brand continues to innovate.
Aside from the running market, Asics has a strong following among sneakerheads, and several of its shoes once used for performance running have become favorites with those who are focused solely on style. Models such as the Gel-Lyte 3, the Gel-Lyte 5, the GT-2 and others have been given new life by sneakerheads and reimagined by retailers, designers and brands through collaborations including Ronnie Fieg of Kith, Sneakersnstuff, Concepts, Patta, Colette and others.